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The Long Weekend There is nothing uite as beautiful as an English country house in summer And there has never been a summer uite like that Indian summer between the two world wars a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homesReal life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny By turns opulent and ordinary noble and vicious its shadows were darker In The Long Weekend Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half forgotten draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film star smiles Drawing on hundreds of memoirs on unpublished letters and diaries on the eye witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers The Long Weekend gives a voice to the people who inhabited this world In a definitive social history which combines anecdote and narrative with scholarship it brings the stately homes of England to life giving readers an insight into the guilt and the gingerbread and showing how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs and how the reality was so much interesting than the dream


10 thoughts on “The Long Weekend

  1. Petra-X Petra-X says:

    This is Downton Abbey with the boring bits left in and the interesting bits removed as they had been sold off to Julian Fellowes for his tv show Not really but it reads like that If you love to read about rich people and how they lived their lives always putting their social lives before work if they worked at all and you love looking up names of people you've never heard of then you will love this bookIt isn't about life in these beautiful old stately homes it's about parties who was invited where who they were what they did eat shoot change clothes a lot but mostly who they were and often what they thought of each other and the sort of effortlessly upper class manners expected of them Don't call on weekdays to respond to invitations dreadfully lower class This is most of the third paragraph of the book In November 1934 for example the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire entertained twenty guests at Chatsworth for one of their grandest parties Guests of honor were the Princess Royal and the Earl of Harewood who hadn’t visited since 1921 when the earl then Viscount Lascelles proposed to his princess Shooting parties were laid on for the Saturday and the Monday and the Devonshires invited a glittering gaggle of acuaintances for the weekend to meet the royal couple including the Duke and Duchess of Portland from Welbeck Abbey the Maruess and Marchioness of Londonderry art historian Kenneth Clark and Conservative politician Lord Hugh CecilThe fourth paragraph contains another 13 people several of the women are dismissed as 'and his wife' though The fifth has another five names the sixth has six names plus 'and their wives' Some of the people are remarkably uninteresting Loelia Ponsonby only had one chiffon evening dress and had to repair her dancing shoes oh dear Thelma Converse travelled down to Marmaduke Furness's shooting lodge on a train with him and his staff valet three footmen and two housemaids who prepared an extravagant dinner for them in a train compartment What? No plover's eggs? She complained Only the guests are written about The large numbers of workers the housemaids cooks valets and other support staff are invisible to us probably as they were to the guests unless there is an anecdote to relate where the staff were involved with the guests I fell asleep reading it and when I woke up I thought there is a great glorious world of books out there for me to read why am I wasting time on this?


  2. Angie Angie says:

    The Long Weekend is an insider look at English country houses during the time period of 1918 1939 A lot of this is a Who's Who of houses pretty much anything you would want to know about who purchased certain houses when and how they changed them It focused a good bit as well on what a typical long weekend involved I would've loved even of this kind of info and pics When I visited England 4 years ago and had a chance to go through Warwick Castle my curiosity was first piued about these long weekends especially after hearing about Daisy's escapades I really enjoyed this one though and will probably refer back to it often with uestions about specifics I would definitely read works by the author It was obvious a lot of research and time went into writing compiling this book Many thanks to NetGalley and Basic Books for an advance readers copy


  3. David David says:

    Those nice people at Netgalley and Basic Books sent a free e copy of this book Both “life” and “house” appear in the title but it's about “house” than “life” including architecture sales renovations remodeling redecorating which aristo hired and later fired which architect and which magazine critic praised or savaged which design This book begins entertainingly eg jewel thieves mistaken for bed hopping aristos virtuous English maid servants successfully defending their honor against rakish Italian man servants pet monkeys causing great damage to dignified old mansions After the first chapters there's a long time spent on details of the interiors and exteriors of the stately homes many of which are characterized in an uncomplimentary fashion and tend to blur together It's worth persisting until after the half way point when the book picks up and becomes less about molding and about people esp rich Americans homosexuals servants and politicians in that orderThe author assumes a lot of knowledge of UK geography and the lives of members of high society I think some of the references will bewilder the colonial reader Example I didn't feel bad at all about not knowing who Stephen Tennant and Sibyl Colefax l 86 were especially when I found that Tennant when alive was apparently famous for being famous without an discernible talent for anything except decadence sort of like the Kardashians today The author apparently approves of “mannerist decoration” l 527 “canopy á la polonaise” l 724 and “carved work in the style of Grinling Gibbons” l 953 among other things but those of us with inadeuate colonial education will have to break from the text to find out what exactly these are In these days of instant voice search that's not a great inconvenience but authors should try not to drive their readers away to other distractions if possibleSince this is a galley proof I'd like to suggest that maybe future editions can have a comprehensive “cast of characters” section at the beginning esp as people sometimes change their names as they acuire titles and honors A glossary of architecturaldecorating terms wouldn't hurt either Maybe this is too much of a bother but I've always felt that non fiction books would be successful if they tried to accommodate those of us who don't know so much This book will probably be enjoyable in its paper book format because the pictures of home interiors will almost undoubtedly clearer and easier to examine at close range in a paper book The fault here is the Kindle's not the author's or publisher'sThere was some fun reading for example – Perhaps the earliest documented use of the term “week end” then hyphenated dates from 1879 l 76– A British Prime Minster of the 1930s was scandalized when he attended a party freuented by “ladies with painted toe nails” l 226– “the king tore him off a strip” l 848 is what the British say because they are too respectful of their sovereign and perhaps the reader to write “ the king tore him a new asshole”– “On one occasion Sassoon was supposed to have have the Union Jack lowered from its flagpole because he felt its colors clashed with the sunset” l 1318– The future ueen Elizabeth II first met her husband when she was eight when her uncle married his cousin l 2267– Here are some choice bits of abuse inspired by a particularly loathsome member of the aristocracy to hold somewhere in your mind for the time inevitably you will need them “Harold Nicolson described her as “a fat slug filled with venom”; Cecil Beaton called her “a galumphing greedy snobbish old toad who watered her chops at the sight of royalty”; and Leonie Leslie Winston Churchill's aunt said she would rather have an open sewer flowing through her drawing room than entertain said loathsome aristo” l 2343 Truely it was the golden age of invective– “ the 5th Earl of Gosford deserted his ancestral seat of Gosford Castle in County Armagh his wife Mildred the daughter of the US minister to Rumania and his teenaged son and went to New York where he married a wealthy divorcee set up a wine shop in Manhattan and joined the NYPD” l 2564 To this information my reaction was Wait what? More detail please?– “Everybody likes their party to go with a swing although few would go as far as Chips Cannon who put Benzedrine in the cocktails at a formal dinner he gave for the ueens of Spain and Rumania” l 2906Reading a galley proof can be a little tricky At one point l 3083 aristo X claims to have seen the late aristo Y shooting 2 rhinos from the back of an elephant in Nepal Directly after the text reads “Are there rhinos in the Himalayas?” No answer is given in the text but a moment's research reveals that rhinos are not native to the Himalayas Was the parenthetical a note by the author or editor to check a fact? Or was it snark? Sorry I lack the breeding to tell on my ownSee a complimentary review of this book from the May 7 2016 edition of The Economist here


  4. Melisa Melisa says:

    Extremely well researched and fascinating look at the history of the English Country house I would have loved photography as I kept stopping to look up the estates being discussed in order to get a visual Thank you Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


  5. Miki Miki says:

    As a book about English country life this is a good real estate catalog


  6. Lois Lois says:

    I liked this a lot However it isn't at all what is promised This is not really about the houses or the customs during these Saturday to Monday House Party Weekends weren't a thing in the upper classes during this period Weekends imply that one works and to be upper class is to unemployed in this period This is mostly gossip primarily about royalty and the houses castles estates etc they own It covers primarily the Edwardian Age with a bit of Victorian and Windor Era thrown in for good measure Interesting and fun


  7. O. Gold O. Gold says:

    THE LONG WEEKEND LIFE IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRY HOUSE 1918 1939 by Adrian Tinniswood 20165 stars out of 5 Many years ago my wife and I we are now in our eighties flew to Europe rented a car and toured the famous gardens of the Continent Our favorites were in Great Britain Reading THE LONG WEEKEND was like reliving the past In England we went see to Vita Sackville Wests famous White Garden at the country house of Sissinghurst At Stourhead we admired the 18th century landscape garden And in Northern Ireland we were amazed by the magnificent floral garden of Mt Stewart Tinniswood is the reigning authority on these old country houses He has written 12 books on the subject and was awarded the OBE by the ueen for preserving the nation's architectural and social history This is thematic history with each of the 17 chapters based on a certain theme There is a chapter entitled The King's House George V Prince of Wales Duke of York; The House Party the long weekend from Saturday to Tuesday andoften longer; The Reinstatement architectural redos; A New Culture building new country homes by architects who created hardly inspiring country homes p 97; Home Decorating; Field Sports the hunt shoot and golf; and finally The Old Order Doomed WWII and turning the homes into hospitals schools or transferring them to the National Trust So if you are a devotee of Downton Abbey this is the book for you Tinniswood has a thousand stories My favorite is how the aristocratic owners of Stanford Hall in the 1920's were baffled by the prospect of having to run electrical cables through the long ballroom without wrecking its delicate 18th century stuccowork They came up with a bright idea They prized up a floorboard at one end and dropped a dead rabbit into the void; then they prized up a floorboard at the other end and unleashed a ferret with a string tied to his collar When the ferret had managed to negotiate the joists and reach the rabbit the string was used to pull through the electrical cable and hey presto The problem was solved pp 129 130 Read read THE LONG WEEKEND Learn a lot and enjoy


  8. Stacy Stacy says:

    This didn't uite live up to expectations most of the time it felt like a catalog of who owned which country houses than an actual explanation of what life was like in them though the last few chapters did give a better sense of that And given all the descriptions of the houses many with effusive adjectives it would have been nice to have pictures of the houses themselves but perhaps they were not available All in all it did capture the transition of the country house from the sole provenance of the titled few to the egalitarian privilege of the rising middle classes and the effort involved in updating and maintaining them But I don't feel like it did as well in capturing the sensation of what it was like to live in them it was factual but not evocative


  9. A A says:

    An exceptional book delving into the history and culture of the English landed society of a bygone era Tinniswood focuses on the English country house as the anchor of this privileged set chronicling its rise through hundreds of years of documented peerage and subseuent fall in the early part of the twentieth century as WWI ravages Britain's social hierarchy issuing in a new social order Much of the book is dedicated to the history of specific houses their owners through the years and ultimately their destiny as either a family home ruin or listing on the National Trust This reader was enthralled with the other delicious aspect of the book which is the retelling of the colorful personalities inhabiting these country homes Scandals subterfuge outrageous parties not to mention the obscene amount of servants and money reuired to maintain these properties appeals to the same part of me guiltily addicted to Downton Abbey No doubt Tinniswood will garner readers searching for exposure to that much admired period of history where the Saturday to Monday or the Long Weekend reigned supreme


  10. Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris says:

    The Long Weekend isn't really about life in the English Country House Between the Wars though the opening chapter gives a sense of how weekend parties were conducted and there are later chapters about country sports and servants' lives Instead the author focuses on the changing architecture of Country Houses during the reign of George V including reinterpretations of medieval castles modernism and a revived interest in Georgian architecture There are also fascinating chapters about the role of the royal family in country house culture of the time For example the future Edward VIII's enthusiasm for golf made golf courses a prominent new innovation for country house gardens of the time period A enjoyable read


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